That’s right, we haven’t lost weight as a nation, but our life expectancy has just reached a new high. According to the Associated Press, the life expectancy of a child born in the US in 2009 is seventy-eight years, two months. That’s up from the kid of 2008 who could expect to live just seventy-eight years, zero months. But hey, at least that’s up from the seventy-seven years, eleven months statistic that was caused by a computer glitch, apparently.
Let’s see… we haven’t gotten thinner in the past year. So what has changed? Well, deaths are down in ten of the fifteen leading causes, including: heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, homicide, accidents, and influenza and pneumonia.
Unfortunately, suicide made the top ten causes of death list for the first time since 1999. This, however, is not due to a major upswing in suicides, but rather the fact that blood infection deaths dropped by some two per cent.
Of course the news isn’t equal for everyone. Women still live longer than men, whites longer than blacks, and let’s face it: money makes a big difference.
What isn’t making a big difference? Despite years of hand-wringing, weight doesn’t seem to be killing us off at record numbers. Even assertions like the ones made here aren’t killing us off. Not even this one:
People who are fat do not like to have an active social life, and keep themselves restricted inside their home because of the fear of being embarrassed with their obesity.
Guess I forgot about that last night when I went out with Mr. Twistie and four fat friends to listen to a favorite local band… and so did all the other fat people in the place. There was even (GASP! CONSTERNATION!) dancing. Even by fat people.
Yes, there’s stigma. There’s a whole freaking lot of stigma. But you know what? The best way to combat it is to live out in the world, doing things we love to do and giving the lie to the prejudice all around us. The best way to combat it is to freaking live like we mean it.
After all, if I can expect to live to be eighty (which isn’t in any way out of the question, knowing my family), I want to realize when I get down to my last days that I really, really lived. What’s the point in living a long life if you don’t do anything with it?